There are two usb ports on the ScreenPlay Pro HD. The upper port, using USB-A (flat form factor) connection, is for drive expansion. Some of the things you can plug into that port are:
- Wifi Adapter for adding network connectivity.
- Thumbdrive / USB external drive to be able to access media the external device from the ScreenPlay Pro.
- Card Reader will add multiple drives (one for each card type) that can be accessible from the drive.
- USB Hub to allow multiple devices to be plugged in at once.
The lower USB port is a slave port, which uses a USB-B (square form factor) connection. When this port is used, it switches the drive to USB mode when you power on the player with the on/off button and it is connected to the computer. In this mode, the firmware does not boot the operating system, so the media player is never loaded and cannot play any media in that mode. If you power the player on with the remote, it will NOT be in USB mode and the computer will NOT see the player.
The USB port is not powerful enough to run some of the external drives, particularly those 2.5" drives with physical platters but no external power supply (such as the Western Digital Passport). You can still use them in the drive if you use a powered USB hub, which will provided the maximum amount of power needed to each individual port.
Copying files from USB to ScreenPlay Edit
The ScreenPlay Pro has a built in feature for copying files from the USB to the main drive. To copy a file or folder, you first highlight the file you want to copy with the remote. Press the Menu button on the remote and you will be presented with a set of options, one of which is to Copy. Select Copy. Now navigate to the place where you want to store the file or folder you have selected. Press the Menu button and select Paste. You will be prompted with Return or OK. Select OK and the file copy process will begin. Once started, only removing the power will stop it from copying. So make sure you really want to do it that way. The speed will depend on many factors. 20 Mbits/sec is what I've seen. Your results may vary.
You also need to be very careful not to overwrite files by copying to your ScreenPlay Pro in the above explained manner. If your disc is relatively full (i.e. more than 70%) chances are that some files will be overwritten. The same danger lies in the deletions of files you perform from the menu of the player: sometimes files will be deleted (or parts of those files, rendering them unusable) which you actually did not select.
Those problems are most probably related to the fact that the files partition is NTFS and there is some bug in the Linux OS applied to the ScreenPlay Pro related to handling (large) files on NTFS partitions. Formatting as some Linux native format would probably solve the problem (but you would need additional drivers for those formats on your Windows based computer).
USB Hub Edit
There are so many different USB hubs that you may find ones that work and ones that don't. In one case, a USB 1.1 4-port hub would allow thumbdrives and external hard drives to work on the ScreenPlay Pro, but not the Wifi Adapter. That same configuration on the computer caused the computer to reboot constantly. On the other hand, a 2.0 USB Hub that didn't work on the computer with the WiFi adapter had no trouble working with the ScreenPlay Pro. In that case, it was a "CyberPower 4 port hub" with a Trendware TEW424UB adapter. The hub does seem to delay recognition of the devices attached to it.
Viewing USB Drives over the network Edit
The ScreenPlay Pro HD does not permit any access to the USB drives over the network. That can be changed.
Potential Expansion Edit
USB is a universal specification, so while the drive supports only limited devices plugged into it, there may be ways of expanding this to include unsupported devices. For instance, you could hook a USB TV Tuner. It would, of course, not be recognized by the ScreenPlay Pro in its factory firmware. But adding linux drivers into the system may make it usable.
Some ideas that will require additional work to get working:
- USB TV Tuner that could allow the SPP to change channels and record TV (expanding existing functionality), or do picture in picture.
- USB DVD Rom drive to allow the SPP to play DVDs through it and transfer the DVD onto the drive.